The Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan
Housed within a monumental three-headed elephant sculpture, the Erawan Museum offers a captivating journey into Thai history, mythology, and spirituality. It’s a place where both art and history converge, to provide a unique and immersive experience for all who make the journey to Samut Prakan.
Address (Eng): 99/9 Moo 1, Bangmuangmai, Samut Prakan 10270
Opening Hours: 9.00-18.00 daily.
Admission Fee: 400 baht for foreigners or 250 baht for Thais.
Length of Trip: 1-2 hours.
Trip Type: cultural / historical.
Age Restrictions: none.
Dress Code: modest and conservative.
Primary Buddhist Sect:
Nestled in the heart of Thailand, the Erawan Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ช้างเอราวัณ) stands as a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage. Its story begins with the visionary artist and philanthropist Lek Viriyaphant, whose deep reverence for Thai spirituality inspired him to create a masterpiece that would showcase the nation’s profound beliefs and traditions.
The museum takes its name from the mythical three-headed elephant, Erawan, a revered symbol of power and protection in Thai mythology. This colossal statue, measuring an impressive 29 meters in height, serves as the centerpiece of the museum, captivating visitors with its intricate craftsmanship and symbolic significance.
The origin of the Erawan can be traced back to Hindu mythology, specifically the Hindu epic called the Ramayana. According to the legend, the Erawan is the mount or vehicle of the Hindu deity Indra, who is the king of the devas (god-like deities) and Svarga (heaven). Indra rides upon the Erawan as a symbol of his power and authority.
The Erawan is often portrayed with three pairs of tusks, representing its three heads. Each head has its own name and corresponding symbolism. The central head is called “Pa Yo,” which represents knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence. The right head is “Pa Rong,” symbolizing compassion, kindness, and empathy. The left head is “Pa Lek,” representing protection, strength, and determination.
In Thailand, images and statues of the Erawan are prominently displayed in temples, shrines, and other sacred places. Many people pay homage to the Erawan and its ruler, Indra, by offering flowers, incense, and prayers as a means of seeking merit and protection in their lives.
The Erawan Museum’s design is an awe-inspiring fusion of Thai, Khmer, and Hindu architectural styles, representing the interconnectedness of these cultures throughout history. Inside the museum, there are a trove of artifacts, art, and religious relics that have been carefully curated to portray the country’s rich tapestry of spirituality.
In total there are three floors to explore, each dedicated to a realm of the Buddhist cosmos.
The first floor represents the realm of the underworld, adorned with wooden carvings and eerie sculptures, illustrating the path of souls after death according to Thai beliefs.
The museum’s second floor, represents the human realm, which encompasses breathtaking wall carvings that are influenced by Thai art. This floor also features a variety of cultural artifacts that offer glimpses into the country’s storied past.
The third floor of the museum is meant to represent the realm of the heavens.
This floor houses the main shrine, which depicts the universe according to Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The interior of the shrine is adorned with exquisite murals, Buddha images, and colorful stained glass, creating a visually stunning environment.
The third floor is an enlightening and engaging space to explore, thanks to the wonderful combination of artistic craftsmanship, storytelling, and cultural symbolism.
By Taxi: Flag down a taxi or book one through your hotel. Provide the driver with the address, พิพิธภัณฑ์ช้างเอราวัณ – 99/9 Moo 1, Bangmuangmai, Samut Prakan 10270, Thailand.
Ensure that the driver understands the destination and uses the meter or agrees on a fixed fare before starting the journey. The duration and cost of the taxi ride will vary depending on the traffic conditions and your starting point in Bangkok.
By BTS Skytrain: Take the Skytrain to the Chang Erawan Station, on the Sukhumvit Line (E17). From there, exit the platform and proceed to the street level. Either find a motorbike taxi or just walk the rest of the way to the Erawan Museum.
By motorbike, you’ll reach the museum within a few minutes and the ride will cost you ~20-40 baht, depending on the driver. By foot, it’ll take you ~15-20 minutes to reach the museum.
When visiting the Erawan Museum, it’s important to dress modestly out of respect for the religious and cultural significance of the site. Below are some guidelines on what to wear:
Tops: Both men and women should wear tops that cover their shoulders. Sleeveless shirts, tank tops, or any clothing that exposes the shoulders should be avoided. It’s best to wear shirts or blouses with sleeves that extend at least to the upper arms.
Bottoms: Long pants or skirts are appropriate for both men and women. Shorts, mini-skirts, or any clothing that exposes the knees should be avoided. Choose bottoms that reach below the knee to ensure modesty.
Footwear: Comfortable shoes or sandals are recommended as you will be walking around the temple complex. It’s best to wear shoes that are easy to remove, as you will be required to take them off when entering certain buildings within the temple.
Clothing Material: Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable in the tropical climate of Thailand. Avoid wearing clothing made from sheer or transparent materials that may be considered inappropriate.
Colors: While there are no strict rules regarding colors, it’s generally best to opt for neutral and conservative colors. Traditional Thai temples often have a serene and peaceful atmosphere, and wearing subdued colors can help maintain the tranquil environment.
Remember, these guidelines are meant to show respect and adherence to local customs and traditions. By dressing appropriately, you demonstrate your appreciation for the cultural and religious significance of the museum.
The Erawan Museum is a sizable complex with multiple floors, each offering unique exhibits and displays. On average, visitors tend to spend around 2 to 3 hours exploring the museum, but you can adjust this based on your preferences.
To make the most of your visit, take your time to observe the intricate details of the artwork, read the accompanying information, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere. If you have a particular interest in Thai culture, mythology, or history, you may want to allocate additional time for a more in-depth exploration.
It’s worth noting that the Erawan Museum is not solely an art museum but also a cultural and spiritual destination. Therefore, visitors often take breaks to reflect, meditate, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings. Considering these factors, allocating a few hours for your visit should provide a fulfilling experience.
The admission fee for foreigners is 400 Baht for adults and 200 Baht for children.
The admission fee for Thais is 250 baht for adults and 125 baht for children.
The opening hours from Monday to Sunday are 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
The best time to visit the Erawan Museum can vary depending on personal preferences and factors such as weather, crowd levels, and individual schedules. However, below are a few considerations that may help you plan your visit:
Weekdays: If possible, consider visiting the museum on a weekday, preferably during non-peak hours. Weekdays tend to be less crowded compared to weekends when locals and tourists often visit popular attractions.
Morning Hours: Arriving in the morning when the museum opens can be advantageous. It allows you to explore the exhibits with fewer visitors, providing a more relaxed experience.
Special Events and Holidays: Consider checking for any special events or holidays that might attract more visitors to the museum. If you prefer a quieter visit, it may be best to avoid these busy periods.
Yes, if you’re interested in Thai culture, art, and history, the Erawan Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ช้างเอราวัณ) provides a wealth of knowledge and insight. It offers an opportunity to learn about ancient art forms, explore religious beliefs, and gain a deeper understanding of Thai traditions.
Moreover, the museum’s serene surroundings make it an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.